My Twentysomething Life

I Do, Make, Read, Watch, Eat…

Favorite Books in January

I read a lot of books in January, 29 of them, which makes me 11 books ahead in my reading goal for the year.  To see all the books I read in January click here.

Here are my favorite books that I read this month.

Cooking for Mr. Right–Susan Volland
This is another fun, romantic comedy, and it had some food writing mixed in, which I always enjoy.  This is about a girl whose boyfriend proposed to her, she said no, and they broke up.  But when he is suddenly engaged to another woman she realizes that she has made the biggest mistake of her life.  The new fiancé can’t cook and the main character is a chef, so she decides to win her man back through his stomach, and things do not go quite as planned.  This book was just plain fun to read.  I highly recommend it.

Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me–Howie Mandel
This book was very funny.  It is an autobiography of Howie Mandel and his struggle with OCD and germaphobia.  I really enjoyed reading about Mandel’s life and his ups and downs with OCD and how it impacted his life and his career.  A very enjoyable read.

Night Film–Marisha Pessl
I guess you would consider this book a thriller.  It was suspenseful, scary, and had me on the edge of my seat.  The story is very well written and the twists and turns really took me by surprise.  A private investigator is nosing around the death of a famous horror film director.  People keep dying around him, shrouded in strange circumstances.  This book was great, and I really enjoyed Pessl’s story telling.

Wedding Night–Sophie Kinsella
This is a romantic comedy about a girl who thought her boyfriend was going to propose, but instead he asks her to go on a trip with him.  They realize that they are not wanting the same things in the relationship, so they break up.  The girl is reunited with a high school sweetheart.  They have dinner, and he proposes to her, saying that she was the best thing that ever happened to him.  They proceed to plan their wedding and their wedding night.  Their friends and family do their best to put a damper on the whole event.  This book is a very funny, well written romantic comedy and I really enjoyed it.





Favorite Books of the Year

As I told you in my last post, I read 222 books this year.  I have been keeping track of my favorites all year so I could share with you the best books that I read this year.  Hopefully you will read one of these and get as much enjoyment out of them as I did.  Click on the photo to be directed to Amazon for more information about this book

My 10 Favorite Non-Fiction Books Read This Year (#1 being my very favorite)

images  #10  Contagious by Jonah Berger
This book is about how to make your stories, your ideas, basically anything catch on and become contagious.  This was a very good marketing and business book, but I could see it’s application taken much further than that.  I enjoyed Berger’s straightforward way of explaining how to make ideas catch on and also his many illustrations were very interesting.creature of the word

#9  Creature of the Word  by Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger, and Josh Patterson
I read about this book on one of the blogs that I follow and it interested me, and it is also very inexpensive on the Kindle.  This book is about how the church is a creature of the Bible.  It is a living, breathing thing.  This book talks about being a biblical focused, Christ-centered church.  I found it very interesting and applicable to life today.

bonhoeffer#8  Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy  by Eric Metaxas
My mother had recommended this book to me and I got down to it on my reading list toward the end of the year.  I recognized the name Bonhoeffer, but I did not really know anything about him.  I really enjoyed reading this book about him, his beliefs, and his life.  This book was very well written and in spite of being very large, a rather quick read.  Reading this book has led me to read several of Bonhoeffer’s writings that I have also greatly enjoyed.
yes, chef
#7  Yes, Chef  by Marcus Samuelsson
I have really gotten excited about cooking since I got married.  One type of books that I have read a lot of this year has been food books.  Books written by chefs, books about food, or other general food writing and I have really enjoyed it.  I recognized Samuelsson because he is a frequent judge on Chopped.  It was very interesting to read his story.  He has led a very interesting life to get him to where he is today.  This book is very well written and engaging.

the glass castle#6  The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
This is a memoir about a girl’s interesting upbringing.  It is a story that many of us would find as abuse, but this story is very much told through the eyes of a child who did not realize that what she was experiencing could be considered abuse.  The story was very well told and interesting.  I highly recommend this book because while the content of the story can be difficult, the tone of the story is very innocent and true.  This is a book that I really enjoyed.
me myself and bob
#5  Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer
As a child I loved Veggie Tales, so when I saw an advertisement for this book in my Lifeway catalog, I knew I had to read it.  This story is about the creation of Veggies Tales and its subsequent rise and fall.  This was  a very good book.  I enjoyed reliving my childhood and picturing Bob and Larry bouncing around.  it was also very interesting to see the business side of what happened to Veggie Tales in the end.  A very well written and honest book.

dad is fat#4  Dad is Fat  Jim Gaffigan
I got this book from the library for Adam to read, because Adam loves Jim Gaffigan.  Hearing Adam laugh the whole way through the book made me want to read it.  This book is hilarious.  Gaffigan tells many stories about being a father, and the book is very good as a whole.  We ended up buying the book for both of our fathers and my dad also really enjoyed the book.
bread and wine
#3 Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist
This book is all about community and connection around the table.  Niequist tells stories about how life is brought together around meals.  I really enjoyed this look at food and community.  It was a very enjoyable and uplifting read for me.

monuments men#2 The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel and Bret Witter
I do not usually read books like this, but I am so glad that I read this one.  I picked up this book because I saw that they were making the movie and it looked interesting.  This book is about a special group of soldiers in World War II saving artwork from destruction.  It is very interesting.  I am excited about the movie coming out in February.  I encourage you to read the book before the movie comes out.  It is just that good!
garlic and sapphires
#1  Garlic and Sapphires  by Ruth Reichl
This is a food writing book that I absolutely loved!  It is about a New York restaurant critic.  She has to disguise herself when going to restaurants to get an honest look at the food and the environment.  What she learns and experiences is amazing and makes a truly great story.  Please read this book!

Honorable Mention:  The Disaster Artist by Greg Sistero and I’m More than the Preacher’s Wife by Lorna Dobson

My Top Ten Favorite Fiction Books Read This Year
I’m not going to go into what these books are about because I wouldn’t want to ruin anything, but just know that they all have amazing stories.  The characters made me want to cry, laugh, fall in love again, scream in anger, and so much more.  These books captivated me this year.  I hope they will for you too.

memoirs of a geisha#10 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
reconstructing natalie
#9 Reconstructing Natalie by Laura Jensen Walker

the green mile#8 The Green Mile by Stephen King

when you were mine#7 When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle





attachments#6 Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

silver linings playbook book# 5 Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

game of thrones# 4 Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin





the royal ranger#3 The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan

city of bones#2 City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

the storyteller#1 The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult





Honorable MentionWalking Disaster by Jamie McGuire and Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I hope that one of these books has piqued your interest and that you will find a great book to read!

Please comment with your favorite books of the year!  I would love to hear what you loved reading this year.  And I will gladly add them to my reading list!

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Holiday Movie Guessing Game!

Let’s talk about Christmas movies.  I just love them.  The sad thing about Christmas movies is that you only have one month to watch all of your favorites.  I have lots of favorite Christmas movies.  I was reading some lists online of the best Christmas movies.  I was surprised to see that Die Hard was on #2 on three of those lists Also on the list: Batman Forever, Lethal Weapon, and The Ref (2004).  I have never seen or even heard of The Ref, would anyone recommend this movie?  When I’m talking about Christmas movies, I am not talking about movies like Die Hard, that just happen to take place at Christmas.  I’m talking the fill you with joy and the Christmas spirit Christmas movies.

Can you guess my Top Ten Favorite Christmas Movies?  I will post the answers tomorrow night.

Honorable Mention
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated)
Home Alone 2
Jingle All the Way
By the Light of the Silvery Moon
The Holiday

#10  “We invite you to ask yourself this one simple question: Do you believe in Santa Claus?”

#9  “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

#8  “Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!”

#7  “You’re all hard work and deadlines, and I’m all snowballs and fun times.”

#6  “Come out and relax on a farm, music, dancing, home cooking. Open holidays only.”

#5  “Schwartz created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat!”

#4  “Don’t tell him what you want, he’s a liar.”

#3  “I wanna wash my hands, my face, my hair with snow.”

#2  “Is this toothbrush approved by the American Dental Association?”

#1  “Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean is doesn’t exist.”


Comment with your guesses!



I love quoting movies!  It’s so fun to place a movie quote into daily conversation, especially when it is a perfect fit.

Adam and I have two favorite movies that we tend to quote quite often, “The Princess Bride” and “Pitch Perfect.”  We quote our favorite lines back and forth and just end up cracked up laughing.

Another thing we like to quote is Bill Cosby.  We have three of Bill Cosby’s comedy albums on our iPods, and we listed to them a lot.  We can throw these into daily conversation and it’s pretty funny.

Adam and his best friend Jacob are like this with Jim Gaffigan.  They quote him back and forth to each other all the time…they’re a little obsessed.

Recently, one of my craft projects was to make a poster of our favorite movie quotes to hang in the living room.  Here are Adam and I’s favorite movie quotes.  I won’t put what movie they are from, try to guess and I’ll post the answers tomorrow (Adam, no guessing).

1. “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.”
2. “Life is not the amount of breaths you take, it’s the moments that take your breathe away.”
3. “Our love fern! You let it die!”
4.  “Sorry! My Pradas at the cleaners!  Along with my hoodies and my **** you flip-flops you pretentious *********!” (This was Adam’s pick.  He just thinks its funny).
5. “Man I just gave your momma a piggyback ride and she weighs twice as much as I do!”
6. “I love you! I love you! I LOOOVVEEE You!”
7.  “Not a good enough reason to use the word penetrate.”
8.  “I have a bad feeling about this.”
9.  “You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pitty.”
10. “Oh yeah, the Great Bambino.  Of course!  I thought you said the Great Bambi.”

What’s your favorite movie quote?


84 Movies in 19 Months

It all started around October of 2011.  I decided that I wanted to watch all 82, now 84, Oscar Best Picture winners.  Well, after a little over a year and a half, I have done it.  I am really proud of my accomplishment.  The only thing is that now I do not know what to watch now.

In this post I have compiled my absolute favorites from the list, the movies that most surprised me, and the movies that I really struggled to watch.

The following seven movies are the ones that I was thinking were going to really be a struggle to watch.  Either I had heard something bad about them, or the description on the back really did not sound that interesting.  But in the end, I found myself really enjoying them.  Some of them even almost made the cut for the favorites list.  The following are in order from the least surprising to the most surprising.

1-Chicago (2002)
My mother is a big musical fan and she does not really like Chicago, and I was not allowed to watch it when I was little, so I think I had a bad idea of it going into it, but I really ended up enjoying the story and the music.
2-Unforgiven (1992)
I knew nothing about this movie when I popped it into the DVD player.  All I knew was that it was a Clint Eastwood western.  I figured it would be a lot of gun fighting.  What I found was that it was actually a very deep story that I did not expect.
3-On the Waterfront (1954)
This movie was one of the first older ones that I watched, and I just thought it sounded boring.  This is an old Marlon Brando film and it actually ended up being a really good movie.  I enjoyed the story and it actually got pretty exciting in the end.
4-Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)
This is a really great story about a man who pretends to be a Jew in order to write an article about how they are treated and I found this movie to be very powerful when I foolishly thought it would be boring.
5-The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
When a movie is over two hours long, it can be hard to start in the first place.  When I finally put this DVD in, I was expecting to really hate it, I did not think a story about the circus could be all that exciting, but I was wrong.  The story involved several characters and even had a twist at the end.  I really enjoyed this movie, the full 2-ish hours of it.
6-Tom Jones (1963)
This movie was really funny.  There have not been very many funny best picture winners.  They hardly ever get nominated, let alone win, so I was surprised to find this movie as funny as it was.  It was the story of a ladies man and what happened when he actually fell in love.
7-The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
This movie was awesome and the most surprising for me.  I sat down to watch this movie one night while I worked on the budget.  After only a few minutes into the movie I had to put my work away because I was so intrigued.  I highly recommend this movie.

Moral of the story—do not judge a movie based on the description on the back—when in doubt, give it a try.  It may surprise you, like it did me.

Now, this next list is of the movies I really struggled to watch.  There are only 6 of them, which is pretty good from a pot of 84.  I got lucky that I enjoyed 93% of the movies and only suffered through 7%.  These movies either just plain bored me, put me to sleep, or I just thought the story was not very good.  So here are the 6 movies that I did not like, in order from “okay” to “meh” to “I will never watch again.”

1-How Green Was My Valley (1941)
2-The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
3-Gigi (1958)
4-Dances With Wolves (1990)
5-A Man for All Seasons (1966)
6-The Deer Hunter (1978)

And finally, the list of my top twelve (I just could not stop at 10) movies that were my favorites from the 84 I watched.  These are the ones that I would watch again, several times, and that I would not hesitate to recommend to you.  The following are in order of favorite to most favorite.

1-Grand Hotel (1931/32)
2-Out of Africa (1985)
3-It Happened One Night (1934)
4-Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
5- Wings (1927/28)
6- No Country for Old Men (2007)
7- The Godfather (1972)
8- The Apartment (1960)
9- Argo (2012)
10-Shakespeare in Love (1998)
11-The Bridge over the River Kwai (1957)
12-In the Heat of the night (1967)

So there you have it.  I am so glad that I watched these movies.  On average I watched 4 best picture movies a month, on top of all the other movies that I watched.  And I will make sure I keep seeing the best picture movies in the years to come.  Now I just need to find a new list…

Any suggestions?

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I was informed that my last post was much too depressing, so here is some happiness.

Happiness Is…

hubbyMy husband


Sweatshirts and sweatpants

rice krispiesRice Krispies


Baked Potatoes





shoesThese Shoes




New crayons

veggie talesVeggie Tales


Snuggling under Blankets


What makes you happy?

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